Dealmakers Impact Report 2010

Irving Azoff
Live Nation Entertainment
The merger of Live Nation and Ticketmaster indicates that Azoff has no intention of ceding any territory. Back in 2008, Ticketmaster announced it would acquire music management firm Front Line Management Group, founded by Azoff in 2005. The deal made Azoff the topper at Ticketmaster. Noting that recorded music has become a much diminished revenue stream for artists — currently around 5% — Azoff declares the system “broken” and vows to help the live-music industry avoid the catastrophic mistakes of the record business.
KEY DEAL: After challenging it as a potential monopoly, the Justice Department antitrust division in February approved the merger between Ticketmaster and concert promotion giant Live Nation. It was an all-stock deal worth about $525 million, leaving a combined entity with a stock value then worth $816 million with $1.67 billion debt. Azoff says he will now concentrate on flexing sponsorship muscles to reduce ticket prices in order to reverse rising concert ticket prices and stem dwindling concert attendance and increasing disenchantment with the business. Azoff told Congress the merger would let the company “fully integrate our complementary strengths and eliminate about $40 million in inefficiencies” while increasing flexibility in ticketing, promotion and marketing.

Michael Rapino
Live Nation Entertainment
Like his new partner Irving Azoff, the Live Nation CEO claims the music business is “irreparably broken.” Rapino, who formerly headed Live Nation, says his “company of the future” needs to “build a team of rivals” to eliminate inefficiencies, not competition, by aligning the needs of artists with their fans.
KEY DEAL: In February, despite negative press and feelings, Live Nation and Ticketmaster — the 800-pound gorillas of ticket sales, artist management, concert promotion and music merchandise — became one, with Ticketmaster stockholders getting 1.38 shares of Live Nation stock in the bargain. The deal had plenty of detractors, including Bruce Springsteen, who wrote that the merger is “the one thing that could make the current ticket situation even worse.” However, Rapino called it a “do-or-die … self-funding renewal plan,” for the industry, which has a choice between hoping the economy gets better or taking a “proactive approach to protect our employees, reward our shareholders, and grow our company.” LNE predicts annual revenue of $6 billion.
TOP CAUSE: Green Nation.

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